There are many reasons for "sleepers" at auctions. (A sleeper is an auction lot that is ignored by the bidders present) One of the major reasons for "sleepers" is that there is something glaringly "off" about the item up for bid. The cast iron console below is a perfect example of what throws off/discourages potential bidders: The top is a total mess and a misfit for the gorgeous cast iron base. Just look at the iron work--stupendous--detailed, chiseled, beautifully finished with gold leaf and applied patina. And the top looks like a bad bathroom tile job.
So this where my little eye and creativity go to work...And we almost didn't buy it because I hesitated over struggling with the logistics of transporting this very heavy base, but Richard saved the day and stuck his hand up just in time. Here are a few more photos--sorry about the quality.
The console is at the glass fabricator (last two photos) waiting for its new black glass top. See what happens to the console with that horrible top in the dumpster??
I really don't know what to call this guy: 20th c. Louis XV grotto, but acanthus leaves instead of shells? The glass will extend about 1/2 to 3/4 inch over the edge of the iron support. Can't wait to see what it will look like back at the shop.
Here is a second example of an auction sleeper:
These are photos that I took when I previewed Thursday's auction. The auction house had this item tagged as a "table top"......one look at it, with the gorgeous raised lacquer koi fish would make anyone think that it wouldn't work as a table. And they would be right--this would never work as a table top. The problem is that this is not a table top; it's a drop-dead gorgeous 20th c. Japanese lacquer panel. I wish my photos were better--I'll update with better photos on Monday. The white crackle raised lacquer koi fish were created with a complex technique that I think is called eggshell lacquer (not sure) that is raised about 1/16 to 1/8 above the black lacquer surface. The panel is quite large--about 40" x 48" (I clipped the photo) and is stunning, with beautiful movement to the circular koi grouping. Lesson--never believe what a tag says, it could be wrong.
I guess it all comes to one huge imperative at any auction: ALWAYS DO YOUR HOMEWORK and know what your are looking at.
I'm not going to say what we purchased these sleepers for--but I was prepared to pay several times more than what the bidding ended at.
And I am so grateful. Business has been spotty at best, the Government Shutdown has really impacted so many of us in the design sector. I am also very grateful that we now have a functioning Federal Government--and that business is picking up.
I spent Friday with Mia--we ran errands for the shop and went to Costco and then out to lunch. She doing very well!! But there are some deficits resulting from the radiation treatments....I am sure that as her little brain heals and new cells replace the damaged ones, she will be just fine. It is still a journey (as I sigh and sigh) and I pray that her pituitary starts working again. Her medication schedule is very precise and she really hates the taste (can't blame her). The shots she takes like a little trooper.
Thank you for all of your prayers.
Mary & Jones (and Cole)